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Best and Cheapest Home Insurance in California

Best and Cheapest Home Insurance in California

Travelers has the cheapest homeowners insurance rates in California. A policy costs $1,091 per year, or $91 per month.


Find Cheap Home Insurance Quotes in California

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Best cheap home insurance companies in California

ValuePenguin compiled thousands of quotes from the largest insurers in California to determine the best insurance for most homeowners. In addition to price, we considered customer reviews and ratings, coverages and availability.

Best home insurance companies in California

Mercury is the best home insurance company for most people in California because of its good coverage options and dependable service.

It also has affordable rates, averaging $1,312 per year.

California homeowners can find even cheaper quotes from Travelers, where a policy costs $1,091 per year. But customers aren't always happy with the service they get from Travelers.

Find Cheap Homeowners Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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The average cost of homeowners insurance in California is $1,999 per year, or $167 per month. That's 32% higher than the nationwide average of $1,516 per year.

USAA has affordable rates and top-notch customer service, making it a great choice if you're eligible. But USAA home insurance is only available to military members, veterans and their families.

If you have an expensive home, it may be worth it to compare quotes from Chubb. That's because it specializes in insurance for high-net-worth homeowners. However, Chubb requires homeowners to get a minimum amount of dwelling coverage, so it's not an option for everyone.

Cheap home insurance quotes in California

Company
Annual rate
Travelers logo
Travelers
$1,091
Mercury logo
Mercury
$1,312
Nationwide logo
Nationwide
$1,517
AAA logo
AAA SoCal
$1,576
Pacific Specialty logo
Pacific Specialty
$1,671
Show All Rows

*USAA is only available to military members, veterans and their families.

In 2023, some of the largest insurance companies in California stopped offering home insurance, including Allstate, AIG and State Farm.

Companies like USAA, Travelers and Nationwide are becoming more selective about which homes they'll insure.

That's partially because natural disasters, like wildfires and earthquakes, are so common across the state. These companies may try to raise rates for their existing customers in the near future. If your rates are going to increase, you should be notified when your plan renews. That's a good time to shop around to see if you can find cheaper coverage from a different company.

The state insurance commission is pushing back to give homeowners more options to find coverage. For example, homes near the Smith River and Happy Camp Complex wildfires won't face cancellations or non-renewals for a year. But it's still tough to get affordable home insurance in California right now.

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Best insurance for most homes in CA: Mercury

  • Editor rating

  • Annual rate

    $1,312 ?

Pros and cons

  • Affordable quotes
  • Offers earthquake coverage
  • Discounts for green homes
  • Can't compare home insurance quotes online

Mercury offers California homeowners the best combination of cheap rates, reliable service and useful protection.

The average cost of home insurance from Mercury is $1,312 in California. That's 34% cheaper than the state average. But you can't get a quote for Mercury home insurance online, so you'll have to contact an agent to compare rates.

Mercury also offers lots of ways for homeowners to save money. You can save with standard discounts, like a home and auto insurance bundle. The company has some unique discounts as well, like a 5% savings for using green building materials. You can save up to 10% on wind and water coverage by making updates to an older home, like replacing your roof or HVAC system.

There are lots of ways for California homeowners to add extra protection to their Mercury policy.

Mercury offers earthquake coverage through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), which can help protect California homeowners from damage due to earth movement.

For example, if your TV falls off the wall during a tremor, or your home is damaged by a mudslide that was caused by an earthquake.

Mercury also has some unique coverage options for Californians, including:

  • Hidden water leak coverage, which pays to repair damage caused by a leak hidden within your walls, ceiling or crawl space. Most companies place a time limit on hidden water leaks. So if you don't find out about the leak for a few months, you'll have to pay for any damage it caused.
  • Matching siding or roofing coverage will make your house look as good as new if only a portion of your home's siding or roof is damaged. Instead of only replacing the damaged section, this coverage will help pay to replace undamaged sections so that your home's building materials match.
  • Green home coverage will pay up to 10% extra for you to replace damaged materials, like windows or appliances, with environmentally friendly alternatives.

Homeowners are typically happy with the service they get from Mercury, too. The company gets fewer complaints than other similar-sized insurance companies, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). That means you can count on Mercury to help get your life back to normal quickly if your home is damaged or destroyed.

Best cheap home insurance in California: Travelers

  • Editor rating

  • Annual rate

    $1,091 ?

Pros and cons

  • Cheapest rates in California
  • Useful coverage add-ons
  • Difficult customer service
  • No earthquake coverage

Travelers offers Californians the cheapest home insurance rates in the state, with a typical cost of $1,091 per year. That's $908 less per year than the statewide average.

You can get even cheaper rates with Travelers' many discounts. The company offers up to 12% off for bundling home and car insurance and a 5% green home discount.

Travelers has add-ons for:

Travelers also offers green home coverage to help you repair your home using green materials, and extra coverage for high-value items, like jewelry and artwork.

The main downside of Travelers is that it doesn't have great customer service. It earned one of the lowest scores on J.D. Power's customer satisfaction survey, demonstrating that people aren't very happy with their experience at Travelers.

Best for high-value homes: Chubb

  • Editor rating

  • Annual rate

    $2,661 ?

Pros and cons

  • Coverage tailored to valuable homes
  • High rates
  • Only available for expensive homes
  • Can't compare quotes online

Chubb specializes in providing coverage for expensive and custom homes. The company will pay to repair or replace your home or belongings, even if it costs more than the current value. Policies with the Masterpiece package also include unique extras like cash settlement, which gives you the option to take a cash payout if your home is destroyed and you decide not to rebuild it.

California homeowners can also benefit from Chubb's wildfire defense services.

The company can send a risk consultant to your home to give you recommendations on how to protect your property from wildfires. If a wildfire is burning in your area, Chubb will send certified fire professionals to your home to help minimize the damage. It also offers earthquake and flood insurance, so Californians can protect their home from the state's most common natural disasters.

However, Chubb has much higher prices than other California companies. Chubb doesn't offer online quotes, so you'll have to get in touch with an agent to compare rates.

In addition, the company typically requires that you buy a certain amount of dwelling coverage. The coverage requirement varies depending on where you live and whether you plan to bundle your home and auto insurance. But Chubb is probably not the best choice for homeowners who need less than $500,000 of dwelling coverage.

Cost of insurance by city in California

Homeowners in Los Osos, outside San Luis Obispo, pay the lowest home insurance rate in California — $1,426 per year.

Acton, just south of Lancaster, has the highest home insurance rate in the state, $3,103 per year.

In California's largest city, Los Angeles, home insurance rates are 33% higher than the state average.

Average annual home insurance quotes by city

City
Annual rate
% from average
Acalanes Ridge$1,782-11%
Acampo$1,836-8%
Acton$3,10355%
Adelanto$2,22711%
Adin$2,26113%
Show All Rows

Fire, earthquake and flood are the biggest California home insurance risks

It's important that California homeowners have the proper coverage in place to protect themselves against common hazards like wildfires, earthquakes and flooding.

Fire insurance in California

Fire damage is almost always covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. You don't need to buy a separate fire insurance policy.

You should make sure that your home insurance policy will cover the full value of your home if it's completely destroyed by a fire. In the November 2018 wildfires, around 40% of claims came from homeowners who had experienced a total loss.

It's important to choose dwelling coverage limits at or above the replacement cost of your home so that you're fully covered in a worst-case scenario.

Wildfires are a major threat to homes throughout California. Seven of the 10 worst wildfires in California have occurred in the last decade.

Top 10 most destructive California wildfires

Fire name
Structures destroyed
Year
Camp Fire18,8042018
Tubbs5,6362017
Tunnel2,9001991
Cedar2,8202003
North Complex2,3522020
Show All Rows

A number of insurance companies have stopped offering policies in areas considered to be at a high risk for fires.

If you're unable to get a homeowners insurance quote from a typical insurance company because you're located in a high-risk area:

  • Talk to an independent insurance agent who can help you find specialized insurance companies that provide coverage in high-risk zones.
  • Consider the California FAIR Plan Association for fire insurance coverage, which is usually a last resort for coverage because it is more expensive than private home insurance.

Homeowners insurance can be expensive in wildfire-prone areas. However, many homeowners can earn a discount for fire prevention home improvements like:

  • Installing a Class-A fire-rated roof
  • Maintaining a 5-foot ember-resistant zone around your home
  • Upgrading to double-pane windows or adding shutters
  • Enclosing eaves
  • Clearing vegetation and debris
  • Removing flammable sheds and other outbuildings

Many home insurance companies in California also offer discounts to people living in areas with community-wide fire mitigation systems. For example, a Firewise or Shelter-in-Place community.

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Earthquake insurance in California

Earthquake damage generally won't be covered by homeowners insurance in California. You will need a separate insurance policy.

Homeowners can get earthquake insurance through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). It sells publicly supported earthquake policies and insurance through private companies. There are a couple of requirements to get CEA earthquake coverage:

  • You must already have a residential property insurance policy (homeowners, renters or condo insurance)
  • If your current insurance provider participates in the CEA, then you must get your CEA earthquake insurance from that same provider

Earthquake insurance is not required by mortgage companies, and it can be expensive. But homeowners in California who do not have coverage will have to pay the full cost of home repairs after an earthquake.

Earthquake insurance in California costs an average of $1,770 per year for a single-family home with $500,000 of replacement cost coverage. To make earthquake insurance more affordable, use a cheap company like Cincinnati or Tokio Marine. You should also look for discounts based on your home's structure, which can save you up to 25%.


Flood and mudslide insurance in California

Homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. You'll need a separate flood insurance policy.

Though California is a coastal state, most flood damage is due to rainfall, not the ocean. So homeowners closer to rivers are at the highest risk.

Homeowners looking for flood insurance in California can get it from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is sponsored by the federal government, or a private flood insurance company, which has the potential to offer cheaper rates and higher coverage limits.

Mudslide damage is typically not covered by home insurance. But homeowners may be covered if the mudslide was caused by a covered event.

For example, if wildfire damage causes a mudslide, your home insurance would cover the damage. That's because the initial cause was a fire.

This was the case in the Montecito mudslides of 2018. Wildfires destroyed vegetation in the area, making it more susceptible. Since fires are covered by homeowners insurance, and the mudslide was ultimately attributed to the fires, insurance companies largely agreed to cover the damage.

Following this incident, the California legislature passed a law requiring home insurance companies to pay for damage if the initial cause of an event is covered. The Montecito incident shows why California homeowners should understand what their insurance policies will and will not cover.


Frequently asked questions

How much is home insurance in California?

Homeowners insurance in California costs $1,999 per year, or $167 per month, on average. However, rates fluctuate between $1,426 and $3,103 depending on where you live in the state.

What is the best homeowners insurance company in California?

Mercury is the best home insurance company for most people in California because of its cheap rates and dependable customer service. The cheapest rates in California come from Travelers, but its customer service reviews aren't great. If you have an expensive home, it may be worth it to compare home insurance quotes from Chubb.

How much is homeowners insurance in San Diego?

Home insurance in San Diego costs $1,687 per year, which is 16% cheaper than the state average. In comparison, homeowners in San Francisco can expect to pay $1,955, while a policy in Los Angeles costs $2,659, on average.


Methodology

Homeowners insurance rates in California are based on quotes from every ZIP code in the state. The sample property was built in 1975 and insured to the current median value of a home in California, $505,000. Quotes for this home are from 10 of the largest home insurance companies in California.

  • AAA NorCal
  • AAA SoCal
  • Chubb
  • Farmers
  • Mercury
  • Nationwide
  • Pacific Specialty
  • Tokio Marine
  • Travelers
  • USAA

ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your own quotes may be different.

Other sources include California census data and Cal Fire.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.